NEW YORK CITY--The most hardcore of hardcore gamers were out in abundance in New York City Wednesday night, all hoping for a chance to score a PlayStation 3.
Gamers lined up outside SonyStyle Plaza in midtown Manhattan knew their best chance of getting a PS3 was waiting in front of that store. While other retail outlets were stuck with only a handful of systems, the PS3 bash there promised hundreds of Sony's next-gen console for sale.
Herded without opposition by Sony security guards, hundreds of gamers lined the street and even began wrapping around the corner of the next block. Spirits were high as a pseudocommune formed, each participant allied by an equal goal--get a PS3 on November 17.
Throughout the huddled line, the hopeful were crammed close together and sat in folding chairs more suitable for the beach than the hard asphalt of Manhattan. Diversions included gaming on PSPs, idle chit-chat, the occasional Nintendo DS, and the classic book. While most were receptive to the slightest bit of media attention, some campers covered their faces, perhaps protecting their "being sick and can't work" alibis.
Though one would expect harsh weather in New York at this time of the year, the weather seemed forgiving for those in line, hovering in the 60s and merely overcast. The weather gods appear ready to test their determination Thursday night though, as thunderstorms have been forecast for the area.
The gamer with the claim to being first in line is New York native Angel Paredes, who arrived at the store Monday evening. Though his commitment to getting a system day one was met with some resistance from his family, the temptation was too much to deny.
"I've been waiting for this system for over a year," Paredes told GameSpot. His family, who now understands his plight, have supplied him with food and even held his space in line for a few hours while he went home, showered, and revisited the luxury of having a roof over his head.
Though the launch of the system is still a full day away, those in line exuded a feeling of being in the home stretch. Paredes and the other hopeful PS3 owners are doing this together and have built a common bond.
"I've made a bunch of new friends," said Paredes, smiling and gesturing to those in line behind him.
Though there is the temptation of hawking a system for profit for all those who are lucky enough to score a PS3 on Friday, most of those waiting in front of the Sony Store in New York seemed content to keep theirs. However, a few dissenters did seem to opt for the quick cash.
"I'm totally happy with my Xbox 360 right now. I've got Gears of War sitting at home," said a man in line. "I may get a PS3 later, but for now, I think I'm selling mine."
Hopefully for those in line, the wait will culminate in a brand-new PS3 early on Friday morning. Sony plans on kicking off its launch festivities at 9 p.m. EST, with the first PS3 sold in North America being handed out to Paredes at midnight. Those waiting at the end of the line be warned--Sony has announced that only the first 400 in line will get into the party and have the chance to buy a console. As for the others? Well, there's always the next shipment.
In contrast to the SonyStyle Plaza, a few major retail locations in the popular shopping area of Times Square were near empty. Both Toys "R" Us and Virgin Megastore in the famed district were barren. One employee at Virgin confirmed to GameSpot that the store only expected about five units for the system's launch.
Stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage of the North American PS3 launch.